Adaptability, the strength that enables us to successfully adjust to change, can be a valuable, life-enhancing skill as we age. A recent study looked at 38 million older Americans on Medicare with adaptability in mind. The results suggest that people who develop age-related disabilities and are willing to adopt assistive devices and technologies are more resilient and remain independent longer. Those who deny their deficits seem to cut back on their activities, or may require personal assistance from caregivers sooner and longer than the more adaptable group.
When the researchers applied their findings across all seniors on Medicare, the numbers broke out this way: 31% of older adults manage without help, 25% have adapted successfully to a disability, 6% have reduced their activities while denying any disability, 18% have a hard time functioning independently, and 20% receive personal assistance with one or more activities of daily living (including elders living in long-term care settings).
Realistically, advancing age brings change. Those changes are not all physical or health related, but include adjusting to transitions in job status, loss of partner or spouse, friends, or familiar surroundings.
Seniors have had a lifetime of practice adjusting to change, some more successfully than others. Resiliency in the face of aging can mean the difference between maintaining self-reliance and losing independence sooner.